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Dog rescued in Gulf of Mexico after owner & he hit by drunk driver

A man kayaking in the Gulf of Mexico rescued an injured dog that was swimming offshore after fleeing when his owner was struck and killed by a car driven by a drunk driver.

The crash occurred on Saturday afternoon on Siesta Key, located about 40 miles south of St. Petersburg. It is an area known for some of Florida’s most beautiful white sand beaches. 53-year old Donna Chen was jogging with her dog Barney, a Hungarian Vizsla, when 22-year-old Blake Talman drove away from the nearby beach drunk, got into one crash, and then drove away, striking Chen and her dog.

Chen died at the scene, but the dog ran away. Later Saturday afternoon, Bellingham, Washington tourist Rory O’Connor was fishing and kayaking near Siesta Key when he spotted the dog swimming about a half mile offshore. O’Connor captured the rescue on a video camera that he uses to record his fishing adventures. He then took the dog ashore where he met some of his family. They then took dog to a nearby vet who identified using an implanted microchip. When the veterinarian’s office contacted Chen’s family and learned of her death. O’Connor said Barney is recovering, and said he is thankful that the dog is back with the Chen family.

Authorities say Talman was charged with DUI manslaughter and is being held at the Sarasota County Jail without bail. They declined to comment on the dog because the case involves a vehicular homicide and remains under investigation.

Our thought and prayers go out to the Chen family.

Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chief
Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chief
Vice-President & Asst. Editor-in-Chief of The Heat Magazine, Arlene is a Louisiana native, Certified Paralegal, Publicist, Owner of MIKODreamz PR, co-owner of 504Diffusion, writer, producer, and jack of all trades, who is heavily involved in her community as well as serving as Media Advisor for New Orleans Union for Entertainment (NOUE), Member of the NOLA Music Awards from 2012-present & Member of the Press Club of New Orleans. Her work is published across the web. Her PR work has been highly recognized & awarded. She was/is publicist for the late great BTY YoungN, 0017th and more. She is also working on her first novel & aspires to turn it into a film & is currently writing the authorized biography of the legendary Pimp C of UGK. She can be reached via email at Follow her on Twitter - @CategorySeven & Instagram - @hurricanearlene.


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